40% higher hospital mortality in 2nd Covid wave: Study

40% higher hospital mortality in second Covid-19 wave, suggests new study

The study found higher severity of the disease at admission and a significantly higher mortality rate in hospitals, especially in younger patients

Nurses walk towards a Covid-19 ward to attend to patients at Ramaiah Medical College hospital in Bengaluru. Credit: PTI Photo

The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic witnessed more than 40% higher level of hospital fatality in India, according to a nine-hospital study, which found that the maximum death rate happened among those who are less than 45 years of age.

“More patients had secondary bacterial and fungal infections in Wave-2. The mortality has increased by almost 40% in Wave-2, particularly in the younger patients of age less than 45 years. Higher mortality was observed in those admitted in wards, ICU, with or without ventilator support and those who received convalescent plasma,” says the study carried out by doctors at the Max group of hospitals.

The group used its nine hospitals spread over five northern states to compare the hospital fatality rate among 14,398 patients who visited these hospitals in the first wave with 5,454 persons who were hospitalised in the second wave.

The study found higher severity of the disease at admission and a significantly higher mortality rate in hospitals, especially in younger patients.

The contributing factor could range from late admission due to non-availability of beds to more infection by the Delta variant. Also, an increased level of secondary fungal and bacterial infections may also have contributed to the rise in mortality.

While 7.2% of the patients admitted in the hospitals died in the first wave, the figure rose to 10.5% in the second wave – 40% higher mortality. Younger patients (less than 45 years of age) saw the sharpest increase in mortality to 4.1% from 1.3% in the first wave.

Some deaths reported in the wards are also due to the fact that because of the unavailability of ICU beds, even serious patients requiring a high degree of oxygen support were treated in the wards. Compared to the first wave, the hospital admission was also delayed by a day.

Even though the second wave is on a declining phase, there are still 82 districts with more than 10% test positivity and another 85 districts where positivity is between 5-10%. As many as 46,148 new Covid-19 cases and 979 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours.

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